I made the move a few years ago from teaching 8 years in a low income school district to currently teaching in an affluent community with students that had parents that are deeply invested in their education and were more than happy to lend a hand. It's been an adjustment to understand the new set of expectations, increase my communication between home and school, and become better at asking for help (because hey, it's available here!). All these adjustments have been positive in every aspect but there has been a learning curve.
One of the new expectations in one of my schools is to be a large contributor to the bi-annual art and culture fundraiser. The expectation was that each class (16 in total) each created a group artwork to be auctioned off, each grade level K-5th completing different projects. Phew … thank goodness for pinterest. Ideas galore on pinterest.
My main concern was not to take up my limited class time completing projects that did not have a place within our curriculum. I tied every project into a unit that was already within our curriculum and just used the opportunity to provide another rich art experience. (The exception here was first grade … the original first grade project that I had in mind was a fail, and because of time constraints we switched to the final project that didn't contain any earth shattering learning BUT, it was quick and with parent help students were away from art instruction for a total of two minutes.)
Below is a description of each auction project that we settled on for grades Kinder - Fifth grade - all were successful and loved by students and the community. The even was a huge success!
Fifth grade completed a study on Lichtenstein and used their knowledge and skills to create a bags set that packed a big punch. We used acrylic paints and worked in small groups to complete the painting portion. Students signed their names on completion of the project. I varnished it with a clear gloss and a parent was kind enough to sew all the bean bags as well as donate the boards.
We spend the beginning of the fourth grade year studying perspective and architecture. Students had completed fantastic large scale drawings of skyscrapers and I decided to channel those skills to create an auction item. I had each student create a small drawing of a building of their choice. We cut them out and collaged them together to create a skyline on a large rectangular canvas. Students also cut out tissue paper circles to create the bright sky behind the buildings. A parent volunteer used mode lodge to seal the canvas for longevity. These displayed great at the auction and parents and students alike were really excited!
The bags set created such a buzz amongst the community that we repeated the idea with third. After completing a successful independent Keith Haring project students drew a small character inspired by Keith Haring and painted in small groups. We treated them the bag sets the same way as the fifth grade project, though I added a small border around the edge.
Second graders had completed an adorable dog portrait. They all came out so great and unique that I knew that I wanted to use them in some capacity for the auction project. The problem was, every single student wanted their drawing back (and I don't blame them!) so I couldn't collage them or combine the originals. One of the PTA parents came up with the idea to scan them and have them printed on a snuggly blanket. They turned out great and using a common color scheme for the background really tied the whole project together.
This age group was the one that I struggled with the most. I had a host of ideas, many can be seen on my pinterest board here, but each one had there own set of problems. A long story short, I ran out of time and this thumb print project was a perfect fit. Parents were crucial to its success. I had every thing set up before class and parents would simply call one student at a time and have them choose a color, stamp their thumb print within the stencil, sign their name, and clean up. I was teaching my normal lesson as this was being done so kids missed almost no class time. It was a great solution for the time line that we ended up with.
I love creating papers, inspired by the work of Eric Carle, with kindergarten. I have to fess up though, I struggle with what to do with the paper after it's made. I've tried a few things, some more successful than others - this year, we used those papers to cut letters out and attach to rain barrels for our auction project. My school has a long history with creating a rain barrel for the kindergarten auction project. In the past they had painted it with hand prints. I don't know what my problem is but I am NOT a fan of the handprint art. Maybe it doesn't have enough snooty art integrity for me, maybe I just don't have the patience for the cleanup, either way - yuck, in my opinion. We shifted to the idea of collage and I have to say, these looked great in the end. We made sure to create our paper with acrylic paint and then used marine varnish over the papers to ensure longevity. The community went nuts for these.
What are your experiences with school auctions? What types of auction projects have you done before?